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Industry News Roundup April 2019

Tuesday 30/04 – Welsh Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths declares a climate emergency in Wales. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council has launched a new project to investigate new technologies which support peer-to-peer energy trading.

Monday 29/04 – The government announces a new £30mn fund to develop design proposals for smart local energy systems. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) launches a consultation on its proposals to modify electricity supplier licence conditions necessary for the introduction of its proposed Smart Export Guarantee, a scheme where government will be able to legislate suppliers to compensate small-scale low carbon generators for all electricity exported to the grid. A B2B survey by PwC and Energy UK has found that 71% of businesses now have an energy strategy, up from 65% in 2017, with 53% of business energy strategies including energy efficiency targets.

Friday 26/04 – As reported by Smart Energy, a report published by RenewableUK concludes that if the UK is to secure enough low-cost power capacity to meet carbon targets, new onshore wind turbines will be needed to replace older wind farms. The Orkney Islands Council announces plans to investigate two additional sites as part of its Community Wind Farm Project.

Thursday 25/04 – BEIS energy production and consumption statistics show that coal-fired electricity generation by major power producers was down 52% between December 2018 and February 2019 compared to the previous period. As reported by Utility Week, a cross-party group of MPs releases a report urging the government to offer specific policy action on carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS) technology to help the UK decarbonise.

Wednesday 24/04 – The government is urged to set a net zero target in law for before 2050 by various energy industry figures and experts at an event held ahead of the publication of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) advice on adopting a net zero emissions target in the UK. National Infrastructure Commission Chief Executive Phil Graham tells attendees at another event that a “highly renewable electricity system should be Plan A for UK”.

Tuesday 23/04 – BEIS assumes responsibility from Defra for business greenhouse gas reporting guidance and regulations effective immediately. Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry tells a Commons Science and Technology Committee evidence session she is confident that the UK will meet its fourth and fifth carbon budgets. In a separate statement made in Parliament, Perry declined to declare a national climate emergency. In its new Future of Energy report, Energy UK makes several recommendations for the UK energy sector, including changing current regulation for suppliers to increase competition and choice for consumers.

Monday 22/04 – Easter draws to a close with the longest ever modern period without coal generation – 90 hours and 45 minutes without any coal-powered generation, breaking the previous record of 76 hours and 10 minutes set in April 2018.

Friday 12/04 – The government publishes a series of documents on its research into low carbon heating solutions, including hydrogen and alternative technologies. Ofgem launches its transmission tender shortlist for the Beatrice, Hornsea One and East Anglia ONE offshore wind farms under the sixth round of the Offshore Transmission Owner regime. The regulator also issues a call for evidence on the Electricity System Operator’s performance during the 2018-19 year.

Thursday 11/04 – The government’s updated Energy and Emissions Projections 2018 show that the UK remains off target to meet its fourth and fifth carbon budgets. The EMR Delivery Body publishes the timetable for the postponed T-1 Capacity Auction (the auction to guarantee the UK’s security of supply in one year’s time), setting the auction for delivery year 2019-20 for 11-12 June.

Wednesday 10/04 – EU Emissions Trading Scheme prices hit a 10-year high of €26.8/t, surpassing the previous high of €25.8/t. The EU ETS is a system which allows heavy emitters within the EU to trade the right to emit carbon. Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks commissions Frontier Economics to devise a new process comparing the cost of flexibility services versus network reinforcements.

Tuesday 09/04 – The government updates guidance on Feed-in Tariff (FiT) exemptions for energy intensive industries, following a European Commission state aid approval. The European Commission publishes its Fourth Report on the State of the Energy Union, outlining progress made on the Energy Union and a framework for reaching the Paris Agreement.  A new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) finds global renewables deployment must increase six-fold to meet climate objectives.

Monday 08/04 – National Grid ESO’s Demand-Side Flexibility Annual Report 2018 finds that policy and regulatory developments are leading to near-term uncertainty for market participants. Demand-side flexibility is when energy consumers such as businesses help balance the grid and earn rewards such as revenue for supplying on-site-generated power, or cheaper bills for changing when they use electricity. The European Federation of Energy Traders calls for arrangements to establish a single GB power price in the event of a no deal Brexit. Centrica introduces its 2030 Responsible Business Ambitions, setting out long-term goals according to key principles including customers, climate change and communities.

Friday 05/04 – A report from Energy Systems Catapult concludes that government statistics on UK productivity do not take into account the economic benefits of decarbonisation. It argues that the government should reflect carbon emissions in productivity measurement while pursuing policies that recognise the link between carbon policy and changing economic activity, innovation and future productivity growth. Andrew Stephenson MP is appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy; he replaces Richard Harrington, who had resigned on Monday.

Thursday 04/04 – A report from think tank the Aldersgate Group concludes that technological innovation must be accelerated if net zero emissions are to be achieved by mid-21st century. Drax CEO Andy Koss announces that the company could stop using coal ahead of the government’s 2025 deadline.

Wednesday 03/04 – Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry announces four new smart energy demonstrator projects to contribute to developing local energy approaches at scale. Statistics published by the International Renewable Energy Agency suggest that renewables now account for one-third of the world’s electricity capacity.

Tuesday 02/04 – During a Commons Science and Technology Committee evidence session on low carbon technologies, witnesses urge the government to include onshore wind and solar in Contracts for Difference auctions – this is a scheme which incentivises the development of low carbon generation. The committee also heard that energy storage can contribute more to carbon reduction targets.

Monday 01/04 – National Grid ESO becomes an independent entity and claims GB electricity system operation can be zero carbon by 2025. Liverpool City Region announces it is to trial up to 25 hydrogen buses in a new £6.4mn project as part of plans to achieve a zero-carbon economy by 2040. EU Emissions Trading Scheme data shows a decrease in overall emissions from heavy industry between 2017 and 2018 from 136.6mn tonnes to 128.7mn tonnes.

Written By Graham Paul


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